mobile drug testing in atlanta georgia
the mro - critical element in your drug free workplace

The MRO: A Critical Element In Your Drug Free Workplace!


What is an MRO? An MRO is a Medical Review Officer. An MRO is defined as a licensed physician who receives laboratory results, has knowledge of substance abuse disorders, and has appropriate medical training to interpret and evaluate an individuals positive test result together with his or her medical history and any other relevant biomedical information. Only individuals hold either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) degree may serve as MROs for federally regulated programs. The MRO is the gatekeeper protecting the rights of the ordering organization and the donor.

Why is the MRO so important? Simply stated, the MRO provides a critical element in your drug testing program-the final review of results!

Keep in mind a positive laboratory test result does not automatically identify an employee or job applicant as an illegal drug user! An individual with a detailed knowledge of possible alternative medical explanations is essential in performing this final review. This final review is required in the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Drug Testing Programs initially published in the Federal Register on April 11, 1988 (53 FR 11970-11989) and revised in the Federal Register on June 9, 1994 (59 FR 29908-29931). It is also required by 49 CFR Part 40 for mandatory drug testing required of DOT regulated employees. Also many states require require both DOT and non-DOT drug tests be reviewed by an MRO.

**BEST PRACTICE: Always use an MRO regardless of whether you are required to do so by your state or federal regulations. Protection from liability and fairness of the drug testing process should be considered.

Keeping it current:

Employee provides urine sample via instant device. Company employee reading the test results (not fully trained in most cases) sees the results window shows the employee is positive for BAR-Barbiturates and BZO-Benzodiazepines. Is this company representative really qualified to confirm this as a positive results (no formal training) and take disciplinary action? Or maybe this was a pre-employment test and this person would not be extended a job due to this result? Could there be a medical reason for this? Sure the person could be taking a prescribed medication in the BAR or BZO family that doesnt effect his ability to perform X job as long as he is taking it as prescribed an MRO would report this result as NEGATIVE.

**BEST PRACTICE: All non-negative instant tests should be a) sent to a certified lab using GC/MS technology to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the initial result and b) all confirmed lab results should be reported to an MRO for verification prior to being transmitted to the employee and the company. Protection from liability and fairness of the drug testing process should be considered.

Company conducts an onsite instant test and a lab based drug screen for all new hires. Said company relies on a negative instant test to start processing new hire paperwork, scheduling orientation, etc to get that spot filled quickly while lab based results are processed. In a fast paced, hectic work environment sometimes judgement calls are made. Company conducts instant test and positive result comes back on the results panel. New hire says I have a prescription for that, I take X for my back. Inexperienced/Untrained Company Representative believes the new hire and pushes along with the paperwork, orientation etc (despite company policy)..knowing the lab results will be back shortly and will confirm what this nice new hire explained! Well funny that the lab results, confirmed through the MRO came back positive for Cocaine. The moral of this story is follow your company policy and DONT take action or inaction based on an unconfirmed drug test result.

This topic could continue for a good bit, so if you have additional questions regarding MRO services or other questions regarding Drug Free Workplaces dont hesitate to reach out to us at 678-804-7515.

Remember the use of a MRO greatly enhances the validity and reliability of the overall drug testing process. This ensures fairness to the donor and offers additional protection to the employer should future legal action arise due to a positive drug test where donor may have actually had a legitimate medical explanation. It is the job of the MRO to ensure the integrity of the drug test, and without the MRO, there is NO assurance of this integrity, and no court should uphold a positive test result, not reviewed by an MRO!

Is your policy in up to date?

Are you using an MRO?

Have you taken action on an unconfirmed positive drug test?

USAMDT firmly believes in a defensible drug testing program and the use of an MRO is always required when we provide testing services for our clients!

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